Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows
Mandy Griffiths

By Mandy Griffiths

“Dark Shadows” is just your typical ‘vampire imprisoned for centuries by a spurned witch lover after she made the love of his life jump off a cliff’ movie. And it’s a comedy! I think? Well, it’s set in the 70s anyway, and, er, if that wasn’t one hilarious generation then… I don’t know why “That 70s Show” ran for eight years (actually, I don’t know).

Based on the classic TV series of the same name, Tim Burton’s “”Alice in Wonderland” follow-up features Johnny Depp (can you believe it!?) as Barnabas Collins, the aforementioned vampire who must adjust to life to in the 1970s after his padlocked coffin is unearthed to make way for a new McDonalds. He returns to his family home to find the Collins descendents, lady of the house Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer, reuniting with her “Batman Returns” director Burton), her brother Roger (Johnny Lee Miller) daughter Carolyn (Chloe Grace Moretz), and Roger’s son David (Gulliver McGrath). Also living with them is David’s psychiatrist Dr Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter, who, like Depp, is a regular staple in Burton fare), and a new addition to the family, David’s nanny, Victoria (Bella Heathcote) who seems to have a mysterious past of her own.

Unfortunately for Barnabas, also still living in the town is the aforementioned spurned witch lover, Angelique, played with delicious wickedness by Eva Green. Barnabas undertakes the journey of a vampire learning to live with electricity, moody teenagers, hippies, vengeful exes, and courting females in an era of lava lamps and mirror balls. He is also quite moved by the cinematic tearjerker of the time, “Love Story”.

The good: Barnabas’s bewilderment at this “modern” life he has wondered into is the highlight of the film, and Depp shines with confusion and old fashioned determination as he attempts to crack this 70s nut. The costuming and design under Burton’s direction are an aesthetic feast as always. It’s great to see Michelle Pfeiffer in action again, but quite honestly, all the characters are a joy to watch. And no offense to the popular AM stations, but the music of 1972 has never sounded so good, with a rocking soundtrack that sets the tone perfectly.

The bad: This film seems to suffer the same fate that “Alice In Wonderland” did, which is it succumbs to disappointing third act. For two thirds of the film you think you’re watching a masterpiece, and then it barrels towards the end and you’re left a bit confused and disappointed. There is a reveal about one of the children that seems completely unearned, and also, there’s no real moral to the story, just a set up for a vampire and witch to face off in an entertaining way. The film sets itself up with a very interesting character in Victoria, only for her to lose the screen almost entirely as soon as Barnabas re-enters. This is indeed Depp’s show, and while he excels at it, it would have been nice for the rest of the family and Victoria to have been fleshed out a little more. Still, they’re good at what they do.

It’s fluff but overall “Dark Shadows” is a really fun movie, and if you’re only going to see one pale-vampire-looking-awkward film this year, see.. “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II”. Okay, cheap shot. See this one.

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on Pinterest

About Mandy Griffiths

One of Moviehole's longest-serving contributors, Mandy has worked her way up the ladder from contributor to Australian co-editor.
Also works full-time in publicity.

View All Posts

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message


Arrow (TV)
The Princess Bride
A good wine
Veronica Mars
Secret Cinema
Black Books
Social Media
Public Relations
Harry Potter
Star Wars
Photo Booths
Pop Culture
Clint's Nicolas Cage impersonation

Mandy Griffiths

One of Moviehole's longest-serving contributors, Mandy has worked her way up the ladder from contributor to Australian co-editor. Also works full-time in publicity.

More in Uncategorized

  • Jupiter Ascending

    To celebrate the release of “Jupiter Ascending”, Moviehole in conjunction with Roadshow Films have some terrific prizes up for grabs! The first winner receives : • 1 x Jambox speakers • 1 x Mens T-shirt or 1 x Womens Hoodie (depending on your sex – if you don’t know it, we can...

  • The Rover

    To celebrate the release of "The Rover" on June 12, Moviehole in association with Roadshow Films has...

  • Come Join Us At a Private Screening of The Raid 2

    Thanks to Madman, Moviehole is giving our readers from Melbourne and Sydney a chance to sneak peek...

  • Win a family getaway thanks to Grown Ups 2

    Win a family getaway thanks to Grown Ups 2 The all-star comedy cast from Grown Ups return...


Lost your password?